Chandresh Shah

Marketing Groupthink Trap

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Irving Janis, a research psychologist from Yale University published a very influential book in 1972 that provided initial research on groupthink.
EHR Companies have fallen into this Groupthink. Marketers spend hours and hours pouring over competitors’ websites, reading through their brochures to see what they do, and without even realizing it, fall into the trap that results in very bad decision-making.

When Providers ask a simple question – ‘why are you different?’, hundreds of EHR company websites are hard pressed to provide a genuine differentiator, an answer to that question.

Perhaps one reason could be that there is no differentiation. But I know several companies personally that have a uniqueness about them, about their products, about their services and their approach. Yet, they are unable to articulate them.

I believe there are several things you can do to overcome the decision-making problem caused by groupthink:

  1. Welcome diversity. Bring outsiders of the healthcare space to meetings and leverage their opinions, feedback and ideas to enhance impartialness of a decision.
  2. Engage and encourage in critical thinking without employees fearing dissent.
  3. Employ new marketing technologies to test radical ideas without causing any severe damage to company credibility.
  4. Introduce a ‘devil’s advocate’ to intentionally voice contrary opinion and force discussion of alternatives or analysis of the validity of a proposed formula.
  5. Hold a ‘second opinion’ meeting to offer an opportunity to provide input or new information before acting on a decision.

Marketing should be about being bold yet communicating a unique story. Even if products are not too different, stories are unique. Tell them in your own unique way.